Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Consentual colonisation

Right now most academics, politicians, public servants, pundits and media maintain that the colonisation of New Zealand was a coercive and negative process for Maori. Moreover, that colonisation is an ongoing process.

I differ. I think much of the colonisation occurred with consent.

Take just one aspect of our shared history - social security.

While Maori were not wholly locked out of earliest social security provision, they were disadvantaged. It was harder to secure the Old Age Pension due to difficulty in procuring proof of birth. Then, authorities vested with the power of granting shied from issuing pensions to elderly Maori ensconced in communal living lest younger members misappropriated the funds. There was also debate about how much money an elderly Maori person living communally needed to live versus a retired European living independently. Neither of these considerations would be brooked today. And these discriminations quickly fell by the wayside.

Post 1938 Maori increasingly enjoyed the fruits of social security.  They were moving to the cities for work and wanted the same unemployment safety net. They were having large families and wanted the same family assistance. They aspired to own homes and wanted the same family benefit capitalization opportunity and access to state-advanced mortgages.

Colonisation provided a population large enough to supply the funds required for a universal safety net. Maori contributed and benefited willingly - or as willingly as non-Maori. (Willingness wasn't unamimous. I'm still no fan but recognise I am in a tiny minority. There are downsides to social security and they have disproportionately harmed Maori.)

Readers can doubtless think of other examples of how colonisation has been a positive process not least, the hundreds of thousands of life-long intimate individual unions between Maori and non-Maori.

I believe the term 'consentual colonisation' could be very powerful. Right now those who would angrily reject the idea are winning the debate and driving division.

Next time someone raises the matter of colonisation perhaps I'll ask, "Do you mean consentual colonisation?"


Peter said...

Hi Lindsay, a thought provoking commentary as always, but I presume you mean “consensual”?

JimBobJoe said...

Lots of consent in the colonising process.

example: Wakefield didnt wade ashore at Petone under cover of a barrage. Instead he was greeted and sold land....why? Because rangatira at Petone as elsewhere around NZ, wanted access to the goods andctechnologies Europeans could offer.

Have injustices occurred.. Yes they have.

But costs v benefits show benefits far outweighing costs for ordinary Maori across all aspects of life.

The current marxist sourced anti- colonialism seems to be being promoted by tribal elites as a way to leverage more money and power out of givernment.

And the entrenched civil servants who are really the government have bought the premise that colonisation was a travesty and the Treaty was a partnership agreement.

Its all going to result in bloodshed if not halted soon.... People at the working class suburb level are getting very unhappy with being labelled racist...

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Either spelling is acceptable I gather.,carried%20out%20by%20mutual%20consent

pdm said...

As far as I know the only Maori to oppose Social Welfare was Sir Apirana Ngata.

Shadows said...

Obviously this is very hypothetical, but I look at it this way:

If you went back and asked any Maori, pre the discovery of NZ by non-Maori, whether they would want there ancestors living as they do now (in 2021) or to continue living exactly as they were (in 1600 for example) I would expect them to choose 2021. This is assuming of course they could understand the myriad of benefits today's society provides compared to stone age feudal 1600.

Without colonisation they would not have the superior life expectancy, security, healthcare and many other benefits that we all have today.

oneblokesview said...

As always the question of colonisation benefit or not, especially in NZ will be a never resolved debate.

So I looked up countries that had never been colonised.

One country never colonised that I am very aware of is Thailand.
Next door to Burma(Colonised by UK) and Cambodia(colonised by France).
One could argue that Thailand is ""better off""than its neighbours.
Well before the old King died anyway.

The simple measurement for me(while talking about welfare)
Would you rather be in Thailand or its neighbours if you got seriously ill?

IMHO no contest - Thailand.

So the NZ question will NEVER be resolved as its a ideological question as there is no usuful measurement/comparison.

Amusingly in their list of Countries never colonised is NZ along with EVERY country/territory in the world. Guess wikipedia cant be used as a reference.

Mark Wahlberg said...

Lindsay, forgive me for being obtuse, but when I read "Consentual colonisation" my immediate thought was Maori were complaining about being screwed again.

I'll have to lay off the fermented yoghurt!

Rick said...

For a long time, Maoris continued to live a separate existence and by the turn of the century almost became extinct. By the 1960s the survivors decided to exit their settlements and join the cities Western New Zealanders had built.

That's consenting to 'colonisation'.

Norman Kirk’s New Zealand Day Speech of February 1974 at Waitangi before Queen Elizabeth and the nation said just this. I have the video here..

How did we forget what we knew? It's Politically Correct history revisionism.

Don said...

I am old enough to have been called a Colonial while in the UK and it was a compliment to complement the reputation Colonial forces had won in two World wars. Maori can be grateful it was the British that came here when comparing how they were treated with what they may have suffered under other colonial powers. The Economic theory of Mercantilism was the dominant policy in the 19th Century and the British version was the kindest to indigenous people.
Let's have some gratitude to our settler forefathers instead of this stupid denigration fostered by Maori activists. After all. they all have settler forefathers too.

Unknown said...

Thanks for another perspective. I have always thought that if you accept social welfare in any form you are consenting to Government control! So if you want to be independent from the government as it stands, and want to become sovereign, the first reasonable thing to do is stop hypocritically accepting benefits from tax money and the accountability required, and pay your own way. That would be true political correctness.